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CD of The Week

Week of 7/11/22

    Metric - Formentera (MMI / Thirty Tigers)

    On their eighth album, Canadian synth-rockers Metric have chronicled and captured life in the pandemic era while dreaming of a different path on Formentera. Stuck in Canada due to COVID travel restrictions, singer/keyboardist Emily Haines and guitarist Jimmy Shaw connected with fans in 2020 through surprise acoustic streaming performances but eventually needed to react to the world around them through their art.

    Formentera itself is a remote Spanish island they’d always wanted to visit, a far-off, far-flung idea that seems out of reach. On the album it’s named after, it’s also a goal, to escape the darkness around us and find a magical, peaceful place.

    The 10-minute album opener “Doomscroller” is the most epic song the band has ever attempted. It’s their “Paranoid Android,” moving from intense verses going down the rabbit hole of the horrors that social media shows us on a constant basis, easily plunging one’s mindset into futility. The chorus takes a sharp turn into a massive techno club banger with the mantra of “Don’t give up now/Don’t give up yet.” The third suite of “Doomscroller” arrives with the beautiful comfort of Haines declaring “Whatever you do, either way we're gonna love you.”

    This attempt to find something good amidst the apocalypse continues on lead single “All Comes Crashing.” If we’re facing down the last days, who would you rather spend them with? For Haines, it’s the people you love the most…family, friends, whoever they may be. But again, there’s that resiliency in there as she sings, “When push it comes to shove we do not fall out of love / We double down, we do not fade.” The past 2+ years blur together into sameness on “What Feels Like Eternity.” Driven by Shaw’s now-unmistakable guitar, the song asks if we are out of the woods yet? Will we ever be? And when?

    The title track takes a trip to the island itself under Joshua Winstead’s bass groove that enters Portishead or Amnesiac territory. Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key are the oft-unheralded members of the band but these songs wouldn’t hit anywhere near as hard without the rhythm section.

    Hanes has taken a stand for individualism on classic Metric tunes like “Gimme Sympathy” and “Synthetica” and returns to that theme on “I Will Never Settle” – "Caught a glimpse of a normal life//Terrified by the sight.” She also ponders the polarized world we live in on “False Dichotomy,” looking for the gray area in between. The defiant “Oh Please” and closer “Paths in the Sky” are almost Metric-by-numbers (pun intended) but 20+ years into their career, they’re more than entitled to sound like themselves.

    On Formentera, Metric have captured these troubled times better than most of their peers... the uncertainty, the dread, the fear, but yet, the band still grasps for hope. Maybe they’ll make it to Formentera someday and we just might too.

    Metric are slated to come crashing into The Fillmore on October 23rd.
    Review by Joey O.

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